The National 2½” Gauge Society (Midlands) Rally 2016 at Balleny Green
Sunday 7th August dawned bright and clear at Balleny Green with every prospect of it
being another fine and very warm summers day, and so it proved to be. The site was
looking neat and trim thanks to the efforts of the grounds maintenance crew the day
before and the 2½” gauge rails had been cleaned so that the small locomotives had the
best chance of a decent amount of adhesion. Most importantly, the teapot had been
brought into action by the ladies in the kitchen, and the rolls and cakes were being
stacked up ready for the rush.
The first visitors had already arrived by 10 o’clock and a 2½” gauge Black 5 was first
on the steaming bay being prepared for running. Gradually the number of visitors and
locos increased and the patio areas and steaming bays became hives of activity and
Of particular interest this year was the appearance of the original 4-
designed and built by Lillian “Curly” Lawrence (who wrote under the pen name of
Until the early 1920’s, model locomotives were usually spirit-
of either the pot or water-
be built having coal-
In 1922 this debate culminated in LBSC demonstrating his coal-
Ayesha against a similar sized spirit-
superior in terms of steaming ability and power, and proved to be quite capable of
hauling real passengers. As a result LBSC was invited to write an article for Model
Engineer magazine describing its construction.
In 1924 a further challenge was held between LBSC’s Ayesha and a Basset-
vindicated the superiority of LBSC’s design. The outcome however did lead to a
lifelong animosity between LBSC and Henry Greenly. Thereafter, LBSC went on to
become a regular contributor to Model Engineer magazine until his death in 1967.
Ayesha is now owned by the National 2½” Gauge Society, and under the
custodianship of John Baguley has been put back into working order (with little more
than a new pressure gauge and a boiler test being required). In June of this year it was
steamed for the first time in 50 years. John brought it along and steamed it at our rally
and clearly demonstrated that it still runs well. Not bad for a loco that is over 90 years
A number of 2½”G locos were on the static display stand adjacent to the clubhouse. I
wonder how many people noticed that the NE Atlantic and the very detailed A1
Tornado were powered by electric motors? power being picked up by studs under the
tenders concealed as part of the water scoop mechanisms.
Whilst all the above action was taking place on the elevated track, a passenger service
was running on the ground level track. This was provided by the club “Hymek” loco
and George Finnemore with his excellently turned out Romulus. Andy Walton also
brought along a fine 7¼” GWR King which unfortunately was unable to run due to
spring damage incurred whilst in transit in its trailer.
Another thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all, so it’s same time, same place again